- 11 Jun 23
Harry Styles took Love On Tour to Slane Castle on Saturday night. The 29-year-old proved to be a born showman, delivering a magnificent performance that will be remembered as one of the best ever at the widely-feted Meath venue...
Harry Styles played a spectacular show on Saturday night to a sold out Slane Castle audience. The first live show at Slane Castle for four years was, it turned out, more than well worth the wait, as the 80,000 capacity crowd became witnesses to a positively stunning display from the former One Direction megastar.
Slane Castle and the River Boyne provided the backdrop for what proved to be an incredible show.
As fans will have been aware from advance notices, Harry Styles’ Love On Tour show has the character of a polished gem, from the impeccable lighting and visuals, to the brilliant musicianship of Harry’s 11-man band.
And then there's Harry Styles himself: an undeniably charming and charismatic performer, who spreads nothing but love and good vibes. His energy and bold smile have acted like a powerful magnet for audiences for over 13 years. The question now was: would the experience live up to the advance hype?
All of 42 years after U2 supported Thin Lizzy at Slane Castle, fronted by Bono, Paul Hewson's son Elijah took to the stage as lead singer with Inhaler, wooing the crowd with an impressively dynamic set. It's a tough gig, landing in front of 80,000 expectant Harry Styles fans, but with songs like 'These Are The Days', 'If You're Gonna Break My Heart' and 'Love Will Get You There', Inhaler made a powerful connection. The band’s performance of ‘Cheer Up Baby’ was the crowning moment of what was a special show – one that will go down in the annals for these rising stars.
When Inhaler left the stage, a different kind of tension descended upon Slane, as the audience, kitted in feather boas and pink cowboy hats, eagerly awaited Harry’s arrival. As he emerged onstage, the cheers from the crowd were deafening: the first song ‘Daydreaming’ lifted all 80,000 people to their feet.
“Céad Míle Fáilte! Conas atá tú?,” Harry enquired. His pronunciation may have been questionable but the gesture was met with rapturous cheers and applause from an electrified crowd.
Performances of the multi-platinum single from 2020 ‘Golden’, ‘Adore You’, ‘Keep Driving’ and ‘Daylight’, from Harry's House, followed, with Styles’ enraptured audience hanging on every word. ‘She’ featured a rip-roaring guitar solo from Mitchell Rowland, the band’s lead guitarist, with ‘Little Freak’ then making a surprise appearance on the set list, to the wild jubilation of fans.
With one of his most pitch-perfect performances of the night, Styles played a gorgeous rendition of ‘Matilda’, a song that resonates deeply with so many of his fans. The poise of Style’s stagecraft was well on display, when he discussed the time he was head-butted in Tallaght. “I forgive you Tallaght, I forgive you,” Harry joked, to uproarious laughter from the crowd.
The band then led into the electrifying duo of ‘Satellite’ and ‘Late Night Talking’, before Styles requested that all 80,000 people in Slane sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to one audience member in particular. It was a sweet moment on a night of memorable ones, and perfectly encapsulated Styles’ ability to engage with his audience.
With Harry and the band now well in their groove, they rattled off a sequence of pop classics, bringing the crowd to a frenzy. There were sterling versions of ‘Cinema’, ‘Music For A Sushi Restaurant’, ‘Treat People With Kindness’, and ‘Grapejuice’, as well as a Styles-ised treatment of One Direction’s iconic ‘What Makes You Beautiful’.
It just kept getting better. Harry’s performance of 2020 pop hit ‘Watermelon Sugar’ brought Slane to near delirium, before Styles stilled the audience for a delicate and intimate performance of one of his lesser hits, the gorgeous ‘Fine Line’. Styles again showed his vocal prowess, hitting the highest high notes on the last chorus. He had his audience in the palm of his hand, giving a stunning performance of a fan favourite, before exiting the stage.
After a flurry of 'Ole Ole’s from the typically committed Slane audience, Harry and the band returned. Styles closed out the show with his first solo single – and megahit! – ‘Sign Of The Times’, ‘Medicine’, an unreleased song requested earlier by one cheeky fan, the global No.1 smash ‘As It Was’ and 2017's ‘Kiwi’. Styles left the stage to ecstatic applause as a stunning fireworks display shot overhead.
Did he live up to the hype?
He did and then some. Harry Styles was the epitome of class on stage. A true showman, he was there there to entertain – but he went much further, entrancing all 80,000 fans in a way that was both powerful and extraordinary. His parting words to his audience were simple.
“Slán leat," Harry said, making each audience member feel that he was speaking to them alone, "agus go n-eirí an bóthar leat.” Styles captured the hearts of 80,000 people on Saturday night. It was a show that no one who was present will ever forget, a masterful performance from start to finish.
May the road rise with you, Harry Styles.